UofG lends support to £31m Responsible AI consortium

Published: 14 June 2023

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are among the founding members of a new national consortium to guide the development of responsible and trustworthy artificial intelligence.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow are among the founding members of a new national consortium to guide the development of responsible and trustworthy artificial intelligence.
Professor Dame Muffy Calder, head of the University’s College of Science & Engineering, is Leadership Team Co-Chair of the new UK Research and Innovation-funded Responsible AI (RAI UK) consortium.
RAI UK, led by the University of Southampton, aims to create a UK and international research and innovation ecosystem for responsible and trustworthy AI that will be responsive to the needs of society.
Led by Southampton’s Professor Gopal Ramchurn as CEO, the consortium will pioneer a reflective, inclusive approach to responsible AI development, working across universities, businesses, public and third sectors and the general public. It will fund multi-disciplinary research that helps us understand what responsible and trustworthy AI is, how to develop it and build it into existing systems, and the impacts it will have on society.
The consortium will convene national conversations on responsible AI and help cohere the AI ecosystem across the whole of the UK. They will work closely with policymakers to provide evidence for future policy and regulation, as well as guidance for businesses in deploying AI solutions responsibly.
Activities will encompass large-scale research programs, collaborations between academics and businesses, skills programmes for the public and industry, and the publication of white papers outlining approaches for the UK and global AI landscape. A portrait of Professor Dame Muffy Calder
Dame Muffy, who is also Professor of Formal Methods at the University of Glasgow’s School of Computing Science, said: “I’m pleased to be part of the Responsible AI consortium to help guide the UK’s future approach to artificial intelligence.
“Researchers from across the University of Glasgow and their collaborators around the world are harnessing the power of AI to help develop innovative approaches to healthcare, climate change, drug discovery and more. Our new Centre for Data Science and AI brings together researchers from our four Colleges to develop new cross-disciplinary approaches to using AI for the benefit of all.
“The Responsible AI consortium will help the UK strike the right balance between reaping the benefits of artificial intelligence and data science and minimising the risks. AI has huge potential and the UK is well-placed to play a world-leading role with the consortium’s guidance.”

Professor of Artificial Intelligence Gopal Ramchurn from the University of Southampton is the principal investigator for Responsible AI UK. He said: “We don’t need to fear artificial intelligence, it won’t threaten humanity but has huge potential to influence how society operates in the future.
“AI should not only be technically safe and accountable, but its impact on its users, their wellbeing and rights, and the wider society needs to be understood for people to trust it. Our role in RAI UK will be to bring together experts from diverse disciplines and cultures from across the world to address the most pressing AI challenges in key sectors and ensure we all benefit from the productivity gains it promises to deliver."

The announcement of funding for RAI is part of a £50m suite of AI investments announced by UKRI during London Tech week, which also includes £2M for 42 projects’ feasibility studies in businesses as part of the BridgeAI programme, £13M to to help the UK meet its net zero targets, and £8M for two Turing AI World Leading Researcher Fellowships.

Identified by the Government as a critical technology as set out in the UK Science and Technology Framework, AI is a rapidly developing science and technology area with massive potential benefits to the economy and society. 
These new investments, through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and Turing AI World Leading Researcher Fellowships scheme, continue to build and expand the UK’s global strengths in AI, working towards AI that acts for the public good and in pursuit of solving global challenges.
Kedar Pandya, Executive Director, Cross-Council Programmes at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “The UK’s expertise in the field of AI is a major asset to the country and will help develop the science and technology that will shape the fabric of many areas of our lives. That is why UKRI is continuing to invest in the people and organisations that will have wide-ranging benefit.
“For this to be successful we must invest in research and systems in which can have trust and confidence, and ensure these considerations are integrated in all aspects of the work as it progresses. The projects and grants announced today will help us achieve this goal.”

First published: 14 June 2023

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